Colorado State men’s basketball assistant coach Ross Hodge has resigned from his position and will accept an associate head coaching position at Arkansas State, according to multiple sources.
Hodge, who has coached under CSU head coach Larry Eustachy for the past five years, four of which were at CSU, will be reunited with newly-hired head coach Grant McCasland, who preceded Hodge as the head coach at Midland Junior College from 2004-2009.
“For the last five years, every day I woke up thankful for the opportunity that Coach gave me, and gave my family,” Hodge said in a statement released by the University. “Like I told him, I’ll wake up every day the rest of my life thankful for the opportunity he’s given me and what we were able to do in the five-year time that I was with him. Everything he’s done for my family, not just within the game of basketball, but the things that people aren’t able to see: The conversations on the road, the things that people don’t know. It was an incredibly difficult decision. I shed a lot of tears and prayed a lot about it with my wife Shelly, and it was very, very difficult. I’ve had opportunities in the past, and it was going to take a special situation for me, personally, to leave.”
During his time under Eustachy at CSU, Hodge has helped the Rams to an NCAA Tournament berth and a berth in last year’s NIT.
The Dallas, Texas native has been the Rams’ lead recruiter over the past four seasons, landing the likes of JJ Avila, Stanton Kidd, Emmanuel Omogbo and more. Earlier this year, Hodge was named to ESPN’s list of top recruiters outside the Power Five conferences and is largely considered one of the best junior college recruiters in the country.
Before his hiring on Eustachy’s staff at Southern Miss, Hodge spent two seasons as head coach at Midland, where he compiled a 63-7 record, which included the 2011 Western Junior College Athletics Conference title. That same season, Midland advanced to the NJCAA championship game, and Hodge was named the NJCAA Region V coach of the year.
Prior to his time at Midland, Hodge coached for four years at Paris Junior College in Paris, Texas, the last three as head coach. He tallied an 83-17 record during his time at Paris, including two Texas Eastern Athletic Conference regular-season championships. In 2006-07 he was named the Texas Eastern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, and the following year (2007-08) he earned Region 14 Coach of the Year honors.
Between 2003 and 2005, Hodge acted as the assistant men’s basketball coach at Texas A&M University-Commerce, where he helped the Lions to the 2004-05 Lone Star Conference Championship and a spot in the NCAA Division II Sweet 16.
Eustachy and his staff will now have to scramble to find two assistants after associate head coach Leonard Perry accepted a position on the coaching staff at Pacific.
“Again are they going to be missed? Irreplaceable, as they made my job so much easier, but you have to let them go,” Eustachy said in the same statement released by the University. “Leonard was my first point guard (at Idaho), my first everything. And Ross – I’ve never respected a guy more. They are great family men, great coaches and great friends. It is a big hit for Colorado State, but I stamp it because it is what is best for them. I will look forward to working with them through the end of April until they start the next phases of their careers.”
Going forward, two names to keep an eye on are Odessa Junior College head coach Tra Arnold and South Plains Junior College assistant coach Jase Herl, both of whom have connections in the junior college recruiting ranks.
Collegian Senior Sports Reporter Keegan Pope can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @ByKeeganPope.